Less than a month before my eighth birthday I saw my friend Tony get hit by a car while riding his bike. He and I were going somewhere—he was going to ride and I was going to walk because I hadn’t learned to ride a bike yet. He sailed down the hill right, past the stop sign, into the intersection just as a car was coming. He should have stopped, but I’m pretty sure the driver was also speeding. The driver got out of the car and started screaming and a bunch of people came out of their houses and stood around, probably blocking traffic. Tony’s father came running and yelled for someone to call an ambulance. Maybe someone already had. An ambulance came and a woman in a white uniform got out and did something. I couldn’t see anything because of the protective ring of people around Tony.
I can place the year and even the date precisely because I stood there in shock for a very long time and then turned around and went home. That night I watched Steve Martin’s first TV special which, thanks to the internet, I know was shown on November 22nd, 1978. I was terrified Tony was going to die, or that he’d be permanently injured, but Steve Martin took my mind off that for a while. A few weeks later Tony was back at school. I’d picked out a toy truck that his mom took to him while he was in the hospital and I saw him playing with it at the bus stop.
Well, that’s not very funny, but this PSA from Denmark about the importance of wearing helmets is, so it can take your mind off that.